I am intrigued by the emphasis on call in 1 Samuel 16. Because I am a theological educator, I am even more fascinated by the role each of us can play in nurturing someone’s sense of call. Saul and David are the key “called” protagonists in the story. But it is Samuel who carries, clarifies, and extends God’s call.
Lent | Fourth Sunday in Lent (Year A)
1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41
Little did tennis star Andre Agassi know that he was speaking prophetically when he declared in 1990s Canon camera commercials that “image is everything.” The truth of his marketing statement seems everywhere today. Pope Francis was not only Time’s “person of the year.” He was also Esquire’s “best dressed man of 2013.” The new pope is what he says, does and wears. 2013 was also the year of the “selfie.”
It’s the second movement of Leonard Bernstein’s choral work, Chichester Psalms. A boy soprano (or a countertenor), in the “role” of the shepherd boy, David, sings in Hebrew the opening verses of Psalm 23. He is accompanied–sparingly, fittingly–by the harp. The first several measures are tender but not tentative; filled with sentiment, but without sentimentality (this per Bernstein’s instructions). When the women’s voices take over the text at גַּם כִּי־אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא צַלְמָוֶת . . . (Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . .) there’s an ethereal echo-canon effect. This part of the movement, when executed well, is something sublime.